Solid Waste & Recycling


Concern over EU dropping biowaste directive

A coalition of 6 organizations, bringing together European environmental protection groups, social integration inte...

A coalition of 6 organizations, bringing together European environmental protection groups, social integration interests, waste managers, local authorities and industry, supported by acknowledged experts in the field, have expressed their deep concern about the apparent intention of the European Commission’s DG Environment to abandon an independent Directive on Biowaste. After five years, several advanced Commission working papers, numerous stakeholder meetings and at least seven different institutional calls for legislation, nothing has yet been delivered.

Given the critical stage of decision-making on the Thematic Strategies derived from the 6th Environment Action Programme, the coalition has called on Environment Commissioner Dimas, in a joint letter earlier this month, to ensure that the Thematic Strategies include a proposal for a Biowaste Directive based on the already advanced discussions on the need for such legislation.

A coalition spokesperson said: “The Commission’s idea of focusing only on Compost Product Standards for this waste stream is insufficient. Standards without complementary strategic legislation on biowaste would not generate the critical mass needed to drive change, or give the legal certainty to address the current financial risks for both the private and public sectors. Essential investments in collection and treatment infrastructure, quality
guarantee schemes and research would not be viable. We are therefore extremely concerned about the change of direction the Commission has taken on this issue in the last year.

“Such legislation is a crucial strategic element of both soil and waste Policies, and has a powerful potential to help member states fulfill the diversion targets of the Landfill Directive as well as positively contributing to European climate change and future soil policies. It would send a clear political signal to steer (bio)waste management infrastructure investments at local and regional level for the immediate future.

“The advantages of quality compost and the need for reliable sources of clean bio waste are widely documented, but are also highly dependent on creating critical mass to ensure high volumes of quality (clean) supply for these applications.’

Failure by the Commission to come forward with a Biowaste Directive constitutes a loss of a unique opportunity at a crucial time given the crosscutting environmental, economic and social benefits such a Directive would have and the strong support that exists among stakeholders, Council and the European Parliament for such legislation.

For further information please contact:

ASSURRE Katarina Molin Tel: +32 2 772 52 52

EEB – Melissa Shinn, Tel: +32 2 8913 08,

European Compost Network ECN – Josef Barth, Tel: +49 25 22 96 03 41,

FEAD Laetitia Reynaud Tel: +32 2 732 32 13

RREUSE – Nick Mc Allister Tel : + 44 114 255 3720, or Danielle van
Kalmthout, Tel: + 32 2 647 99 95,

For the coalition letter to Commissioner Dimas see:

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